With a passion for making literature more accessible, R.I.K. Services has spent over 40 years providing the people of Trinidad and Tobago with a vast array of book titles and products to help fuel imaginations, aid education, and even encourage people to discover new hobbies or skills through the power of reading. We got the chance to speak with Mr. Jeremy Chaitoo, Inventory Analyst from R.I.K. Services Ltd, to learn more about the work that the company does to bring book diversity across the region, implement accessibility to education, and keep its prices affordable in the ever-changing world of the book retail industry.
Founded in 1975 by the company’s namesake, Mr Roland Ishmael Khan, R.I.K. Services has transformed from a budding company into a major force to be reckoned with in the industry. Mr Khan’s legacy can still be felt throughout the daily operations of R.I.K. Services today as his family continue to uphold the company’s reputation as a top wholesaler providing books and supplies to businesses and schools across the country. R.I.K. Services has 6 physical stores located throughout Trinidad, with the central part of its operations taking place from its main branch in San Fernando. R.I.K. also facilitates those who are unable to visit their stores through online orders from their website and social media, with deliveries to any location in the Caribbean.
Across its branches, R.I.K. Services offers a wide range of literature; from short stories of every genre, to works of fiction and non-fiction perfect for all ages, as well as self-help books and other titles perfect for pursuing knowledge, skills/hobbies, and self-education. R.I.K. Services offers a range of titles from Trinbagonian, Caribbean, and international authors to ensure that it supports local art and continues to bring diverse reading material to people across the region. One thing is for certain, when you visit any R.I.K. Services branch you will be sure to find something that is suited to your needs or interests.
A key focus for R.I.K. Services is providing educational material for preschool, primary and secondary levels of education, which has become an increasingly competitive business market in Trinidad. Every year parents flock to R.I.K. Services stores to get books, stationery, and uniforms at an affordable low price which the company is known for. However, the Ministry of Education (MOE) in Trinidad is looking to modernise traditional schooling methods and move the education system towards an integrated online learning approach. MOE’s Education Policy for 2023-2027 wants to digitise content that will be available for all students on its own proprietary web platform.
For book retailers in Trinidad like R.I.K. Services, the policy raises concerns as it will result in less reliance on bookshops for physical textbooks and school supplies which are typically high in demand both online and in-store at the start of the term. Whilst it is clear that R.I.K. Services stands firmly behind the accessibility of education, the move towards online education highlights a growing fear across the industry. This fear has already been looming for some time as online book services are increasingly taking business away from traditional brick-and-mortar bookstores.
Whilst Mr Chaitoo highlights these concerns, he remains firm in his belief that what sets R.I.K. Services apart from its rivals across the industry is its top-notch customer service and diverse product offerings. R.I.K. Services offers way more than just books; its stores offer a wide variety of stationery, ready-made uniforms, plain and plaid materials, games, toys, and puzzles. It even offers seasonal products, including a bigger inventory of games and toys around the Christmas period.
Across these products, it maintains highly competitive prices, which it is able to offer having leveraged its relationships with a vast number of local and overseas suppliers to procure goods at a low cost. This procurement means R.I.K. Services can maintain its low price point which reflects in happy customers who are not paying inflated rates for items. In providing these products, customers are always met with excellent customer service as the entire R.I.K. Services team is committed to going above and beyond to meet the needs of its customers. Therefore, the top-quality service and favourable price points you get with R.I.K. Services are why customers continue to return to this company.
Overall, R.I.K. Services continues to be a leader in the retail book industry through its delivery of diverse literature and related product offerings at such an affordable price, backed by its knowledgeable and hospitable employees and under the direction of their Managing Director. It is clear that behind R.I.K. Services is the same love for sharing literature and providing a range of products to benefit the people of Trinidad and Tobago that started the company all those years ago; and, as it looks to the future and grapples with the ever-changing nature of the industry, we look forward to seeing how R.I.K. Services continues to evolve.